Becoming a UL Panel shop


Thread Starter

Tristan Tullis

I recently got a new position as an engineer at a boiler manufacturer. Currently our control panels are purchased... I wanted to look into producing them here.

The problem with that is, from everything I have seen in my research so far, if you are mass producing one "model" then it is cost effective. If you have custom panels needed constantly, it becomes more expensive, requiring more visits from the inspectors. Each of our boilers require custom controls as requested by the customer, so this is this issue.

Does anyone have any experience with becoming a UL Panel shop? Would it be a bad idea to start manufacturing them here if we did only about 50 or less a year?

bob peterson

Becoming a UL panel shop is not especially difficult. There is a substantial upfront cost (can be multiple thousands of dollars), both financial and in engineering time, and some ongoing expenditures of both.

50 panels a year might well be a break even point where you could do it yourself. In the real world, very few OEMs are actually cost effective at building their own control panels, regardless of whether they are UL or not. But there are often non-economic benefits to building them in-house.

If you have no experience with UL previously, I would anticipate several hundred hours upfront, and an ongoing expenditure of 10-20 hours per quarter plus maybe an extra hour per panel actually built.



Besides UL, keep in mind that there are about 14 other OSHA-approved NRTL's (Nationally-Recognized Testing Laboratories).

Of those, there are several that can provide your panel shop with certification for UL-508A standard.

It's never a bad idea to shop around and find the laboratory that you feel provides your company with the best value.